It is not how stressful something is, it is how you react to it.
The way you react to stressful times in your life is very important not only to your mental and emotional well-being, but it can also contribute to your physical wellness, including the aging process and even whether you will come down with any chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
The good news?
You can change your odds.
Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Healthy Aging agrees that you are as healthy as your stress level. If you cannot handle stress, you better learn how to.
People who have long term stressful lives, and are unable to cope with it effectively, age quicker and become ill sooner than those who have better patterns of reacting to stress. It is not about the stress. It is about coping with it effectively.
How do you change?
You have to change your old way of reacting to things if you are not doing well with stress.
Here are a few Stress-less Tips
First identifying what you can change. And begin to learn how to activate the relaxation response when you find yourself in a stressful period. The relaxation response can be just about anything that helps you cope- as simple as petting your cat.
Other Relaxation Response Tips
My favorite is yoga and breathing. Slowly Inhale- 1,2,3,4- hold your breath for a moment and then — Slowly Exhale for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. ( You exhale longer than you inhale to get all the breath out) and then start again. By the time you do this 2 times, you are calm and centered.
Yoga poses and Meditation
Begin to learn more about how a passive exercise like yoga can really calm you down, especially when combined with taking slow, meaningful breaths.
Meditation can be very meaningful, even if you are just a beginner, sitting meditation for as little as 10 minutes can really help to decrease your stress. Sit crossed-legged ( use some soft music in the background if you like, or just sit in silence). Make sure you are comfortable and warm when you learn to meditate. Use the breath as your focus point or a word. I like to think of a smile. This helps me to focus on something truly positive. Breathe slowly and gently. Your gaze is down, or your eyes are closed.
Choosing a Relaxation Response Practice
Whatever you do- biofeedback, tai chi, or petting your dog, you need to recognize this as your way to relax and get in touch with your inner soul.
Rest and Sleep
Relaxation and stress protection practice can also help you with difficulties sleeping. Once you have practiced better behaviors toward stress, you can also use these new habits to help you with sleep and rest.
Taken in part from: Weil, A. ( 2003). Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide To Your Well-Being. New York, NY. Anchor Books.